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Respected Shay was a passionate boss

Published 26/01/2013

Football in County Antrim is mourning the death of one of it's most popular coaches after former Larne and Chimney Corner boss Shay Hamill passed away suddenly on Thursday.

Shay Hamill was a widely respected and liked figure in both Irish League and Junior football circles, having coached at every level of the domestic game.

His first prominent role was when he managed Larne in the mid-90s, helping the Inver Park club to adapt from playing in the top flight to competing in the new First Division. He stepped aside in January 1997, to be replaced by Harry McConkey.

Hamill then took charge of Ballymena United Reserves in 1998 before becoming the first team's caretaker manager after Alan Fraser was sacked by the club in 1999. Hamill took charge of the Sky Blues for the final of the Irish News Cup, a cross-border competition between clubs from the north-west. Hamill's Ballymena lost 2-0 to Johnny Speak's Finn Harps at Ballybofey.

Hamill is perhaps most closely associated with Chimney Corner, a club he played for and managed on three separate occasions.

His most recent spell in charge of the Antrim club is perhaps the best illustration of his passion for football.

In December 2011 a desperate Chimney Corner called upon Hamill after they found themselves last in Championship Two and without a manager.

At the time Shay was managing All Saints, who lead the Ballymena Saturday Morning League.

Rather than quitting All Saints, or leaving Chimney Corner in the lurch, Hamill managed both clubs for the remainder of the season. He'd take charge of All Saints on a Saturday morning before hot footing it across the country to manager Chimney Corner in the afternoon.

Outside of football, Shay Hamill was PE teacher and he is survived by his wife Mary.

Belfast Telegraph

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